When you’re craving a hot roast beef sandwich, there’s nothing like a French Dip au Jus. The sheer simplicity of rare roast beef on bread is satisfaction enough, but amp it up with a few slices of melty cheese, slow caramelized onions and a dip in warm sherry-spiked jus — that’s sliced roast beef sandwich nirvana, friends. And because the original French Dip was born in Los Angeles, this sandwich is my tribute to the LA Rams — playing versus the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl this Sunday.
For the uninitiated, our annual Super Bowl tradition is to serve dishes that are inspired by the two competing teams and the regions of the country they represent. I was originally going to do tofu dogs with hemp and sprouts (LOL) for the LA Rams, but my husband wouldn’t allow that. He did some Google research and determined that this hot roast beef sandwich would be an appropriate homage to LA — and more appropriate for our Super Bowl spread.
Who Made The Original French Dip Au Jus?
When a food-stuff becomes legendary — there’s always a fight over “where the original” came from and the more digging you do, the murkier the facts get. In the case of this hot roast beef sandwich, there are two LA establishments who claim to the original.
Phillipe’s & Cole’s.
The French Dip sandwich was developed in the early 20th century — that’s pretty much the only undisputed fact. These two eateries have long since competed for bragging rights. Read all about it in this investigative piece by Jackson Landers… Who Invented LA French Dip Sandwich?
Inventorship aside, in his article, Landers even brings into question whether or not the original French Dip Au Jus was a hot roast beef sandwich at all... Was it… could it have been… pork??? Say it ain’t so…
Armed with a plethora of contradictory anecdotes on how this hoagie came to be, I’m feeling more confident in the liberties I’ve taken with this hot roast beef sandwich.
How To Make My French Dip Au Jus
- Season a 3 pound roast (I used a rump roast) with a bit of olive oil and Montreal Steak seasoning. Roast low and slow in a 250° oven until rare to medium. Rest the roast to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. It’s easier to thinly slice very cold meat — and that’s what we want for the sandwich. I like to roast the meat the day before making the sandwiches.
- Caramelize the onions while the beef is in the oven. This process can take an hour or two, though it isn’t difficult at all… I wrote a whole post about How To Caramelize Onions.
- The day you’re making the sandwiches, slice the beef as thinly as you can. Use a good, sharp carving knife for this task or if you have a meat slicer, use it!
- Make the jus. For this, I like to use canned beef consommé, it’s richer than broth and has added gelatin for mouth feel. Don’t dilute it with the called for amount of water — instead use a bit less water and augment with any leftover juices from the roast and a bit of sherry.
- Bring the jus to a simmer.
- Split open the rolls, a sturdy Italian or hoagie roll works well. Lay the cheese on the roll and put them in a hot oven for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese gets melty.
- Heat the caramelized onions in the microwave and get ready to build the sandwiches.
- Use a pair of tongs to pick up a portion of roast beef. Dunk it into the jus mixture to warm the beef through. Pile it on the roll. I like 6-8 ounces of beef per sandwich, but do it to suit your tastes.
- Top with caramelized onions.
- Ladle jus into individual ramekins and serve on the side of the sandwich.
- Dip to your heart’s content!
I had a hungry crew of landscapers who acted as my taste-testers for this post (along with Scott and I, of course). Let’s just say the plates came back clean! I think they even drank the jus because there wasn’t a drop left in the ramekins.
So this may not be like the original French Dip Au Jus — but maybe… just maybe… it’s better.
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French Dip Sandwich
Piled high with seasoned roast beef, this French Dip sandwich with au jus, caramelized onions and melty cheese hits the spot every time.
- 1 3 pound rump roast
- 2 tablespoons Montreal seasoning
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 3 pounds yellow onions
- pinch kosher salt
- 2 10-ounce cans beef consommé
- 10 ounces water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry
- 12 slices provolone cheese
- 6 sturdy hoagie rolls
The Day Before Serving:
Cook The Roast
Preheat the oven to 250°. Place the roast on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil and cover with Montreal steak seasoning, patting the seasoning into the meat.
Cook the roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until Rare (120°) to Medium 140°. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate. (I do this because it's easier to slice the roast very thinly when the meat is cold).
Make The Caramelized Onions
Peel the onions and and slice them into 1/4 inch slices. Heat the remainder of the olive oil in a heavy pot or dutch oven (with a tight fitting lid) over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of kosher salt to the onions. Stir to combine place the lid on the pot. Simmer the onions, stirring occasionally for about 1-2 hours, or until onions are soft and golden.
Transfer the onions to a storage container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Assemble The Sandwiches
Place the cold roast beef on a carving board and use a very sharp carving knife to slice the beef very thinly. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the consommé water and sherry. Heat to a simmer and taste for seasoning. If it's too salty for your tastes, add a little more water. Keep on a simmer
Preheat the oven to 350°. Split the hoagie rolls lengthwise and place them on a baking sheet. Fill the rolls with two slices each of provolone cheese and place them in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese just starts to get melty.
Reheat the caramelized onions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
Using a pair of tongs transfer about half pound of the beef to the simmering jus. Heat for 30-40 seconds in the jus and use the tongs to transfer and pile the meat onto the prepared hoagie roll.
Top each sandwich with a scoop of caramelized onions.
Divide the jus into 6 ramekins and serve alongside each sandwich for dipping.
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